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Introduction: The Need to Investigate the Civic Experiences of American Young People

  • Julianne K. Viola
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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Young People and Politics book series (PSYPP)

Abstract

This chapter begins with the academic and personal motivation for the project, and sets the context for the study upon which this book is based. In contemporary society, the meaning of citizenship and what it means to be civically engaged is shaped by individuals’ experiences of citizenship. However, for decades, research on the meaning of citizenship has been based in theoretical understandings of adults’ conceptualizations and experiences of citizenship, and there is limited empirical research examining citizenship as it is experienced and conceptualized by young people before they reach adulthood. Today, young people are experiencing the world in a more digitally mediated manner than previous generations, and scholars have described changes in citizenship alongside how technology is involved in civic engagement (Bennett, Changing Citizenship in the Digital Age. In W. L. Bennett (Ed.), Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 1–24, 2008; Schudson, The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life, The Free Press, New York, 1998). The author presents an overview of the study and an outline of the book.

Keywords

Citizenship Young people Youth civic engagement Civic identity framework 

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julianne K. Viola
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Higher Education Research and ScholarshipImperial College LondonLondonUK

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